Screen Repair

Easily fix torn screen in any window, door, or porch screen panel

Save some time and money by doing your own screen repair with the following easy-to-read outline.

Fix most any window, door, or large porch panels that are seen in many screened-in porches usually at the rear of the house. These are typically prevalent with houses built in the sixties and seventies.

So, as you might guess, there will be plenty of opportunity for repairs.

What You Will Need

torn screen

The first thing you want to do is assess how much material you will need for your repairs. Take measurements of how much total screen material you will need. This will include both the screen, and the spline.

With typical screen repair, you will need the following:

  • Screen material

Screen comes in a few different colors and type of material used in the manufacture (e.g. – plastic versus aluminum)

  • Spline.

This is the round, rubber-like “stopper” material that firmly holds screen in place. It comes in many different diameters. In order to get correct size. take a sample of the old spline with you to the store to match it up with new replacement spline.

screen repair tool

  • Spline crimping tool.

This tool (pictured) forces the spline into groove receptor which firmly holds new screen tightly in place

  • Small flathead screw driver, or long needle-nose pliers to remove old spline from receptor groove in metal screen support structure.

What To Do

After you have determined your materials list and obtained said tools, you’re ready to go to work.

Tip – In order to perform a really good screen repair, consider having someone with you to help hold the repair parts in place while you (or the helper) actually press the new spline into place. It simply can be way too awkward and difficult for one person to do a certain task when two people are necessary.

spline removal from screened window

Remove old spline from groove by using a small flat-headed screw driver to pry it out. Be careful as the old rubberized spline has probably hardened over the years due to weather conditioning and temperature changes.

Once you have started an inch or two of the old spline out of the groove, use your needlenose pliers to pull the rest out of the groove.

grroved channel of metal window screen

Once the grooved channel is free and clean of all old spline material, you’re ready to size your screen repair piece, and install.

crimping spline into channel

Start at the top and with your crimping tool, force the new spline into the channeled groove. Once to’ve come to the end, cut the spline and finish installing that last little bit.

Repeat this same procedure for the left side, then the right channel, and finally, the bottom channel.

By doing each side seperately, you will be able to better control the tightness of the screen itself as you work the spline into the grooves. Your helper will be keeping the screen pulled taught as you force the spline in.

But don’t pull real hard. Just keep the screen taught enough to keep any folds or wrinkles out.

crimping spline into groove

Your repair piece should be cut to size no bigger than two to three inches of overlap of the metal support frame.

Have your helper hold the repair piece in place. If you tape (masking tape is fine) the piece to the bottom part of the frame, this will enable you to pull the top part somewhat taught. By doing this you can eliminate folds and wrinkles in the finished screen panel.

cutting excess spline on repaired window screen

Once you have firmly installed the new spline into the channeled grooves, you’re ready to trim the excess screen material out of the groove. Use your utility knife to cut away excess on the outside of the groove channel.

Important …

Yes, it may seem obvious, but always trim on the outside of the new spline – not the inside. Otherwise, you will have cut the repaired screen, and thus will have to do another repair.

Yes – we’ve done this ourselves … don’t ask :)

When you have finished trimming the excess screen material from the support piece, you’re done!

Run a clean rag gently over the support piece to clean any remaining loose material and dirt.

finished screen repair finished screen


You’ve just saved yourself about $20 – $40 per screen panel (depending on the size).

If you got quite a few screens to repair, that could be some siginificant savings.